4 Makeup Ingredients Harming You And Nature


I cannot say I do not like makeup – in fact, I love buying and hoarding makeup more than I love wearing it actually. But ever since I’ve been reading up more about the ingredients listed (and in many cases not listed) on these makeup products and what they actually do to our skins and to the environment, I have consciously started reducing my use of the same.

Of course I don’t mean that we need to banish makeup completely. But what I want to share is the truth behind some of the ingredients that most of us are not aware of. The best way to keep ourselves, and our environment safe, is to look for makeup items that are more organic or do not contain the following ingredients.

1. Parabens – These are used in different forms of makeup as preservatives to help your makeup product last longer. One of the main effects it can have on your health is to aggravate your chances of contacting dermatitis. In severe cases, it can also result in allergic reactions. Parabens also mimic the effects of estrogen and can increase your chances of breast cancer as well as speed up the aging process. [1] Parabens are also thought to interfere with the male reproductive system and cause hormonal disruption. [2]When parabens mix with the water system, they can lead to toxicity in aquatic life [3].

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) And Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – Most commonly found in mascara, SLS can lead to severe eye allergies, and in extreme cases, can lead to permanent damage to the eye, and even blindness. It can also lead to skin irritation. SLS causes some amount of toxicity in aquatic life when it mixes with water bodies. [4] SLES are proven to be irritants and can lead to permanent damage to the eye, cause various skin irritation as well as lead to liver toxicity. [4,5]

3. Formaldehyde – It is commonly found in eye shadows and nail polish and is used to prevent the growth of bacteria. Exposure can lead to irritation in the skin, nausea, coughing and wheezing, burning sensation in the nose, eyes and throat and is also suspected to be a possible human carcinogen, meaning it could lead to cancer. [6] It is also linked to problems in the nervous system [7]. Formaldehyde is linked to the formation of ground level of ozone, which can potentially damage crops [8].

4. Toluene – Toluene is also found in nail polishes and hair colors and exposure to high levels of the same can be severe enough to cause unconsciousness or death. Repeated exposure can also lead to brain damage as well as depression. [9,10] Toluene can also cause toxic threat to microorganisms [11].

While it is not necessary that using makeup will lead to all these health issues, there is always a risk of getting affected, not to forget that these are not good for the environment as well. Being careful about what ingredients we use in our products can help.

Be back in your next break or free time, and while sipping or snacking on whatever you like, read about some interesting makeup hacks and DIYs I’ll bring in….(and like I always say, I love listening to your hacks and DIY ideas, so do share in the comments below) 🙂


[1] www.toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+1184
[2] ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/endocrine/
[3] link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-90-481-3509-7_14
[4] Bondi CA, Marks JL, Wroblewski LB, Raatikainen HS, Lenox SR, Gebhardt KE. Human and Environmental Toxicity of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Evidence for Safe Use in Household Cleaning Products. Environmental Health Insights. 2015;9:27-32. Doi:10.4137/EHI.S31765.
[5] 1: Purohit P, Chandar P, Vilinska A, Ananthapadmanabhan KP, Somasundaran P.Effect of mixed surfactants on stratum corneum: a drying stress and Raman spectroscopy study. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2014 Aug;36(4):379-85. doi:10.1111/ics.12139. Epub 2014 Jun 12. PubMed PMID: 24828034.
[6] www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet
[7] 1: Songur A, Ozen OA, Sarsilmaz M. The toxic effects of formaldehyde on the nervous system. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2010;203:105-18. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-1352-4_3. Review. PubMed PMID: 19957118.
[8] apps.sepa.org.uk/spripa/Pages/SubstanceInformation.aspx?pid=57
[9] toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/chemicals.php?id=30
[10] www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/toluene.htm
[11] nature.nps.gov/hazardssafety/toxic/toluene.pdf

Image source: Pixabay

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